Sitting down to write another reflection post, at the end of a year that is still being labeled as ‘new normal’ and ‘different from before’, brings up a slew of emotions-masked-as-questions. Where have I been? Where am I going? Am I learning? Am I growing? What is Parsnip? Where are we headed? Is being a founder still part of my journey? So many questions!
My 2019 was a year of Ps, my 2020 was about why, and here we are at the end of 2021… and after asking myself a lot of questions, I see 2021 as my year about zooming out. I don’t think I’m unlike a lot of founders that spend their day drowning in tasks and outcomes and desires and visions, so finally spending a moment to pull my head above water and hear the questions and reflect a bit… well, it feels right. Zooming out and looking around offers me some perspective on where we’ve been and where we’re going. But I’ve also been doing that in various ways all year long. Read on to hear more about my founder journey in 2021 and why it’s been about zooming out.
Connecting to Values
I participated in an amazing leadership course over the summer (Via Zoom! With strangers that became friends!) that really forced me to look at my values and who I am, as a human, as a founder, as a partner, as a friend. When you sit back and really take stock of your life, what you’ve done and how you’ve treated people, you really gain perspective that only comes from zooming out. This perspective has informed new and old relationships, business strategy, opportunities, and how I view where I want to grow and what I want to do. And honestly, it taught me that at the end of the day, other people (working with them, interacting with them, building with them, growing with them, etc.) are what life is all about. It’s pretty simple.
What is Growth?
Going hand in hand with values is the acknowledgement of how and where I want to grow, as a founder and human, but also with all the projects I’ve been involved in. The old adage that it’s about the journey and not the destination kept coming up for me this year – when you zoom out and think about where you’re going, and see how long and/or how hard it will be to get there, you kind of have no choice but to accept that the journey has to be good. I want the journey to be good. So the pursuit of a long-term goal inherently means you have to enjoy most of every day, otherwise what’s the point? I began to think: what does growth mean to you if you can’t enjoy the minutiae and tasks and day-to-day work? And I’ve done a complete reframing by simply taking a step back and seeing that the journey is the growth. The journey is the goal. The journey is the destination.
People as Partners
I had the opportunity to meet and interact with and work with so many people in 2021. They each impacted me! In a world where we’re still not back in an office and where the projects – Parsnip included – I’ve been working on don’t have big teams, the individual and small group work is vital. As the year went on, and we worked on Sprilly and I started branching out and working on other projects with other founders, I realized that people in business are just as important as people in your personal life. Who you work with and partner with is vital to the success or failure of what you’re doing. And how much you enjoy that day-to-day work effort. It’s taken looking at my projects from a ten thousand foot view for me to realize that every single small team and individual that stood next to me as we pursued a project this year had a weighty impact on me and how I perceived the world. Wow. People have partnership power, no matter if they’re a co-founder, a romantic partner, a contractor, or a friend. Wow.
Thank you for reading along with my reflections on zooming out in 2021, and why this year was not only about Zoom but zooming out to gain perspective and continue to grow in my founder journey! Parsnip continues to be a steady stream of good content and a partner to CPG brands across the country as they grow their businesses!